A It 's now, so it always has been. Eighteen months after the first modern Olympic Games, in Athens in 1896, the entire organizing committee resigned en masse because they thought the task was impossible. The country was, in the words of the Premier minister, Charilaos Trikoupis, “with regret.” He told the newbie CommitteeInternational Olympic that the economic situation prevented the Games from taking place. The founder of the IOC, Pierre de Coubertin, heard but did not listen. Instead, he got down to work, cuddling, cuddling, playing politics, pushing forward anyway.
" To those who followed the preliminaries closely, it seemed certain that the games would be a disastrous failure, " writes British competitor George Robertson , who participated in the discus. "It was not. " Coubertin secured the backing and financial backing of the Greek royal family. And Trikoupis lost a general election in 1895, to a rival who had publicly supported the Games.
Thus, the Games were born from uncertainty, delivered by a stubborn and relentless CIO,despite public doubts, political concerns and escalating costs. The IOC's stubborn self-certainty has seen the Olympics for the past 125 years, through two world wars, three games canceled, thanks to headline data Massacre of Tlatelolco in Mexico City 1968 , when the government killed more than 200 Olympic Games p rotors; the Massacre from Munich in 1972 , when the Black September organization took nine members of the Israeli team hostage; through the $ 2 billion debt left by Montreal 1976, the reciprocal boycotts of Moscow 1980 and LA 1984 during the Cold War, the scandalSeoul 1988 and London 2012 doping tests , the 1996 Atlanta bombing, Rio 2016 corruption, waste and scam .
On the way to these Tokyo Games. The IOC tried to compare them to the Antwerp Olympics in 1920, which was held at the end of the Spanish flu pandemic. But nothing in living memory has been anything like this. They are throwing a party in the midst of a global pandemic, have 100,000 guests, 11,000 athletes and 79,000 officials, support staff and journalists, from over 200 countries, flying through a city in emergency, in a country where only 22% of the population is fully immunized, a country which is simply not ready for these Games.
This is happening despite the objections from primary care workers in Japan , who had to divert vital resources for this, objections from the Japanese doctors' union, who have raised concerns about a new "Olympic strain " of the virus and objections from major newspapers like the Asahi Shimbun, which spoke out against the Games in a recent editorial . And this is happening despite the wishes of the Japanese public.
A wide range of polls over a long period of time have shown that the majority of people in Japan believe that the Iices should be canceled or postponed, and that it is impossible to keep them safe. The current IOC President Thomas Bach is relentless.
"You cannot make a decision regarding a Olympic Games , which are watched by billions of people around the world, and expected by athletes around the world, by hav in a poll, "Bach said. Presumably, you decide. rather by decree of the IOC.
In private and in public, Bach reassured IOC members that, despite the winds of opinion, the Games have a Long list of corporate sponsors signed up to support him. "If they didn't trust our management of the Games and the Olympic movement, they would never make these long-term deals.
It 'sbefore one of these major sponsors, Toyota, announced that it was removing its Games-related s from television . Executives from two other sponsors, Panasonic and Procter & Gamble, have also confirmed that, like Toyota, they will not attend the opening ceremony.
Here in Tokyo, it 'sa palpable feeling that the city is holding its breath, waiting to see how the Games unfold. There have already been 87 cases of Covid among Olympic visitors, and the number is increasing every day. Despite rigorous testing, quarantine and social distancing protocols, experts have already said that the Olympic bubble is "broken.
Bach, like Coubertin continue in theis convinced that everything will be fine in the end. The cycles of public opinion in the cities that host the Olympics are as predictable as the tides. University researchers drew a pattern that begins with a sense of pride in being selected, is followed by opposition and apathy, and ends in happiness and euphoria.
This is what happened in 1896. These Games weren't just successful, they succeeded, writes Robertson, even beyond Coubertin's expectations. They turned out to be a spectacular performance. Spyridon Louis, a Greek water carrier, won the very first marathon, run from the ancient battlefield along the coast to the Panathenaic Stadium, where a crowd of 80,000 awaited him, as well as the messengers on horseback who went to take stock of the race.
WhenLouis entered the stadium, "the excitement and enthusiasm was just indescribable," Coubertin writes. It was "one of the most amazing sites I can remember". The victory didn't just make Louis, it made the Games.
Now, once again, the IOC finds itself relying on the athletes to save the Games, sweeping the worlds in the grace, power, speed, strength, beauty and thrill of Olympic competition. Because it's still the biggest and best show in all of sport.
No matter the budget overruns, the bribes, the corruption and fraud, e waste, the way they sweep the homeless off the streets before it starts, the fact that they put their volunteers to work 13 hours a day and tell them to not get a second dose of the vaccine because they don 't want them to miss shifts . Forget all the dirty work of stage construction, here's the show.
This is the bet the IOC always makes, and it always wore its fruits. But this time he has more than ever. For the past year, the athletes have been one of the good reasons why the IOC has to organize these Games (there are a few hundred million more, most of them provided by American TV channels, but it has shown itself to be less inclined to discuss it in public).
"They will enter the Olympic stadium on July 23 with great pride and send an important message to the whole world," a Bach said. "A message of resilience, Olympic passion, Olympic values such as solidarity andpeace. "
Only there will be no cheering crowds, no 80,000 in the stadium. The IOC hopes he will play anyway good on tv, that something beautiful and inspiring will come out of it, that we will see performances in the next fortnight that say more about the magic of the olympics than Bach's platitudes could ever possibly tell. do.
You still have to wonder if it will be worth it. Normally they calculate the cost of the Olympics in cash; this can also be judged on the number of deaths it causes. Normally we talk about the sacrifices the athletes made to compete in the Games - this time we can talk about the sacrifices the country made to enable them to do so.